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Obama Forgets to Hit Compassion Button

by Keith Koffler on January 31, 2012, 2:49 pm

Yesterday, in speaking with Jennifer Weddel, the wife of an unemployed semiconductor engineer, President Obama displayed why he is sometimes overrated as a politician.

Instead of hitting F8, which I think is the Obama Compassion Button, he hit F7, which is the Obama Lecture Button.

So instead of getting her pain felt, Jennifer got a lecture.

Take a look-see.

Notice that Obama does not once tell her that he’s sorry about her plight. He asks for her husband’s resume, but he seems to want it more to solve what for him is an intellectual riddle – that an industry he thought was hiring might not be.

In fact, instead of of “sorry to hear that,” he uses the word “interested” about a half dozen times.

And what’s the idea here?

I can tell you that there’s a huge demand around the country for engineers . . .  The word we’re getting is that someone in that kind of high-tech field, that kind of engineer, should be able to find something right away.

Obama continued:

Ma’am, your husband is a fat, lazy hippopotamus who isn’t looking too hard for a job and probably lost too many IQ points because of prescription drug abuse to continue as an engineer. Tell the loser to send me his resume so I can have National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling use it as a dart board in his office.

Okay, I made that last part up. But you’d be excused for thinking this might be the subtext.

What’s more, according to the tech blog Gizmodo, Obama has his facts wrong.

Not all tech jobs are created equal, even in engineering. And manufacturing jobs in technology are moving overseas, or going away altogether, just as surely as they are in other sectors. Moreover, the problem is, anecdotally at least, even harder for experienced workers like Weddel’s spouse . . .

For Americans who build something you can hold in your hand, like a semiconductor and the devices they enable, it’s still tough out there. President Obama, and the Washington establishment in general, ought to know that.

It’s true Republicans don’t have their A game on. There’s no Ronald Reagan in the hunt for the nomination. But the Democrats are also missing their A game, who went by the name of Bill Clinton.

{ 1 trackback }


Jeff January 31, 2012 at 3:14 pm

He also never answered her question which was why his administration has a policy of insourcing foreign engineers while her husband isn’t able to find work in that field. His response failed on every level.

William January 31, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Got a little testy with the impudent prole, didn’t he? He clearly doesn’t like it when one of them questions an Inner Party member like himself.

Star January 31, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Thanks for seeing what I saw, too, Keith! Very condescending. I write about job hunting all the time on my Do the Hopey Copey site–and it is NOT as simple as he thinks. People have gotten him jobs, catered to him…his attitude, at least in our paper,,was to almost sneer–as you said, “Oh, you people, let me just take care of this…”

Star January 31, 2012 at 3:33 pm

And when you get that taken care of, Mr President, there are 40 some million others–where should they send their resumes?

Sadie January 31, 2012 at 4:39 pm

“….where should they send their resumes?”

Look for the mail slot the next time he bows.

Star January 31, 2012 at 4:55 pm


Bruce January 31, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Would be interesting if all those seeking employment mailed their resume to the White House. Maybe after a few truck loads of mail someone might get the idea that things aren’t all that rosy outside the Beltway. Would make a nice visual too.

elm February 1, 2012 at 11:08 am

Maybe everyone of us should send our resumes to the WH. Then the O could give us all a hand up. I bet those hamburger engineers and grocery packing engineers could use a promotion.

MT for re-redistribution January 31, 2012 at 3:42 pm

She should have asked at the end “Do you know if Solyndra is hiring?”


srdem65 January 31, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Yes, he’s clueless about the plight of ordinary Americans who don’t vacation at Martha’s Vineyard or buy thousand dollar dresses. He doesn’t understand what having to use food stamps to feed one’s family does to the once-proud now unemployed provider. He didn’t understand why the man who owned a vehicle that doesn’t get 50mpg just go out and buy a Volt or something.

I’d like to believe that he’s just insulated, that everyone he “knows” is doing well and he thinks only the lazy or un-educated are suffering from their own failures. But, what I really see is a man who has no understanding of American capitalism or how jobs are created.
I feel sorry for the woman who asked her President “why” and only got a sneering response that her husband must be doing something wrong in return.

Moe January 31, 2012 at 4:34 pm

I felt sorry for her too, he seemed to insinuate her husband was doing something wrong. Hope and change has come to this, boy do we need change.

MT for re-redistribution January 31, 2012 at 5:29 pm

odd thing is that the people who typically are inept… work for the government.

Girly1 January 31, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Totally ignored her question as to why we are still allowing H1B visa holders – all 2M of them – to emigrate!

He mentioned how great the tech industry is doing but neglected to mention that Silicon Valley is over-run with Indians who work for half the salary.

O/T – At the SOTU address, did anyone hear him talk about the fact that Steve Jobs warned him that he would be a one-term President if he kept up his anti-capitalist policies? Instead, he used Mrs. Jobs as a prop – what a low-life!

Carrie January 31, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Is this what you would call “detached” from the real world: “The word we’re getting is that someone in that kind of high-tech field, that kind of engineer, should be able to find something right away.” I lterally laughed out loud. Word on the street, lady, is your husband is in demand, so what’s his problem? {{eye roll}} He could easily have said “I have no idea what to tell you, hun. Gotta run. Tee time.”

Star January 31, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Coupla other considerations besides being priced out by visa engineers…
You can’t relocate if you can’t sell your house
Many jobs are contract now–how long they last, nobody knows
Engineering jobs are very niched, specialized–advanced training is expensive
There is an unspoken tendency to “not like” older workers for high tech positions–kids don’t like to hire their parents
These electronic ways of applying are designed to weed people out not find them
An engineer can–finally–get hired, then in a year be training his replacement in India–I know people this happened to
There are many applicants for every job, including new grads with fresh skills and lower pay expectations

Car in January 31, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Carrie – they have data and charts and sh*t, demonstrating that there ARE jobs out there. He just knows what his advisors tell him.

Annie's Mom January 31, 2012 at 6:15 pm

Yup, just like the jobs mantra…we have thousands of unemployed construction workers…we can put them to work re-building our crumbling infrastructure, our roads and bridges. He has no idea that a carpenter, plumber, or dry-wall installer isn’t able to weld steel or pour cement. Gak! Just totally clueless.

DREAMS FROM MY NEIGHBOR January 31, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Cut Barry some slack.
He’s distracted –

His Kenyan House of Cards is about to come crashing down.

MT for re-redistribution January 31, 2012 at 5:31 pm

video is not available :-(

Car in January 31, 2012 at 5:41 pm

I thought it was kinda funny – the idea that wonks and Harvard Graduates in Washington know better about the job opportunities than those out acutally looking for jobs.


lc southern January 31, 2012 at 6:07 pm

Totally condescending towards her.

Anonna January 31, 2012 at 6:27 pm

Wow. He made it sound like it was her husband’s fault.

And no idea that maybe companies are LYING about not being able to find American workers.

Mrs Compton January 31, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Just wait for it. In a few weeks he’ll be calling a presser to talk about the ‘job’ he created for this man and they will be bullied into acting so grateful to the _resident. It will make us all gag.

Lizzy January 31, 2012 at 6:32 pm

He and Michelle and the whole bunch of fools inhabiting the WH haven’t got a
clue or an ounce of compassion among them. He hasn’t ever had to go out and work for anything it’s just bestowed upon him same for Michelle they feel
they were due all the things they were given. So to relate to a person who is
a real working family they cannot nor do they want to if you don’t have
$38,500 to put in his hand forget it and Michelle is worse she would eat a $81
steak in front of a starving child.

Wigglesworth January 31, 2012 at 7:14 pm

“Jennifer, did you know we have a great food stamp program?”

- Barack Obama

A note from our attorneys: This is not a real quote

Keith Koffler February 1, 2012 at 12:22 pm

There’s the advice he was looking to give.

Wigglesworth January 31, 2012 at 7:47 pm

That’s what’s nice about working with a teleprompter for Obama. He can program compassion into the device and read it.

QueenOfScott January 31, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Sometimes it’s your own fault, sometimes it is “the times” fault.

I know that when my husband got laid off from his 20+ year IT job, his qualifications didn’t get him in the door for new job opportunities. His last job didn’t require these new certifications – he wasn’t hire-able without time spent for new education and money out of pocket.

My husband was completely burnt out from his experience. He thought the way to go was “commission only” jobs for the next three years. That didn’t work out very well – and we became completely broke fast.

I begged him to take any job that paid an hourly wage – we needed income. So he took a job as a “pest inspector” for a major company, and made a low wage income doing a nasty job. It was a six day a week job, didn’t reimbuse the gas and mileage spent, they degraded their employees weekly for their poor sales performance in a group setting, and some of their employees probably planted “pests” that didn’t exist – I don’t have proof, but it is very likely.

My husband found another job do more technical work and with a better group of workers. It is still physical work – it is labor – and it still pays a third of what he used to get paid. He likes his co-workers, etc.

Problem – he got his lay-off notice. It was a union thing – last in, first out.

New day – same problem. My husband isn’t lazy and isn’t picky. Life is hard – and the older you get, the harder and pickier the employers get.

Anonna January 31, 2012 at 11:24 pm

I agree entirely. My own experience has seen the downgrading of jobs from in-house to freelance at a pace at which one cannot do good work and a standard so low that good skills are unnecessary. And, of course, one is still to blame if a mistake creeps in.

We do not need the foreign workers who are pouring in here legally and illegally — unless the goal is to make it impossible for Americans over 35 to make a living wage.

I am so sorry for your husband’s experience and I hope he is able to work out something better, but I understand that it is NOT a matter of effort or understanding the field or anything that Obama was suggesting. It has simply been made hard for workers with experience to succeed — isn’t that bitterly ironic?

Keith Koffler February 1, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Sorry QueenOfScott. My best wishes to you. This is exactly the point Romney was trying to make this morning – though he made it poorly – that he wants to look out for honest people who really want to work. It must be very depressing. Hang in there.

QueenOfScott February 1, 2012 at 9:57 pm

Thanks to both. I appreciate your comments. Sometimes you just want to air your feelings somewhere…

DG Reid January 31, 2012 at 10:12 pm

There is a fundamental problem in high tech that nobody talks about. It is a field where the infrastructure is changing all the time. Having 10 years experience at something isn’t that helpful because that something has changed dramatically over that period. The longer you work, the higher your pay, and yet, both young and old engineers are on the same learning curve. By the time I hit 40, I was already noticing that there were fewer and fewer engineers around of my age. By 50, I started feeling like I was in the wrong place. If you lose your job at 50, nobody needs to hire a senior engineer. A younger (cheaper) engineer is almost as good – not quite, but almost. If not age 25, then age 35 will do. This was all true even in the “good old days”.

Today, the younger engineers being hired are in China and India. An electrical engineer in China costs about 20% to 25% of what a US engineer costs with essentially the same skills. Why hire a new grad here, and certainly not an experienced engineer unless they have unique skills?

Technologists need to specialize so their productivity can justify their pay, but remember, the field where you specialize is changing all the time, and one new development can make it go away. I had a neighbor once who repaired mechanical watches. Today, most people just use their smart phones.

If you want Obama to understand all this, you will need to play golf with him some time.

QueenOfScott January 31, 2012 at 10:23 pm

I hate to tell you this, but no one (other than our grand kids) wants us after 50. This is a scary reality. Get with the program…

QueenOfScott January 31, 2012 at 10:25 pm

My entire company is into the young and the beautiful. I have no way to compete.

QueenOfScott January 31, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Okay – not my company – the company I work for….

Sadie January 31, 2012 at 10:42 pm

Amen to all the facts and realities. True 20 years ago, truer today.
They used to call it the ‘silver ceiling’.

Star February 1, 2012 at 11:21 am

I wrote on this today…

Dean February 1, 2012 at 2:17 am

This guy lost my vote. H1b visas are poison for our country, almost nothing good comes from them. It’s primary purpose is for companies to undercut domestic wage norms, by bringing in guest workers who HAVE NOT been in this country paying taxes their whole life, and contributing to the development of this country. The majority of the guest workers are here to rob jobs from taxpaying Americans. STOP THIS H1B MADNESS NOW – ENOUGH!!!

Star February 1, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Interesting that on this thread, the man is trying hard, and on the food stamps thread, people are slacking.

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